Table of Contents
1. A Letter From Your Shining Star
2. What the School is all about
3. Session Times, Arrival & Departure
5. A Child Stays Home-ABSENCE, Illness, weather Policy
6. Everyday & Special Experiences
7. Toys & Clothes at School
8. Behavior Guidelines & Communication
9. How Families Can Help
10. Your Child’s Progress
1. A letter from your child…
I am going to be starting school soon and I cannot wait to go. What an exciting new experience for me. You know this early learning experience will be one of the most important parts of my life. It will prepare me for kindergarten, help me learn how to make friends and develop relationships, teach me Christian values and set me along the beginning path of how my life will unfold. This handbook is very important for you to read over so that I will be all ready to go when school starts.
My school is in a big church building. I’ve never seen so many toys, books and interesting things. My teacher's name is Mrs. Plassman. She loves children and will do her best to help teach me and raise me as if I was her own child.
My teacher said there will be plenty of things for all of us to do. At first I’ll have easy things to do. Then as I learn, I’ll get harder things to do. My teacher said that most children will go to school here for three years, but some go two years and a few may only go for one year. This is called a continuous progress approach. That means that if my friends are older than me or more advanced, their work will be a little harder in order to help them and challenge them in their continued learning. There also may be times where I am a little more advanced and my friends may be given a little easier activity to fit their needs. We all learn at different levels. My teacher will provide us with different activities to help us learn and grow, and we can all learn from each other as well. I hope I can be a really good example and someday help my friends to learn something from me. This handbook my teacher has created for you will provided you with information to help you, me and my school provide the best possible partnership and learning experience for us. Please read and review it very carefully before I begin school!
2. WHAT THE SCHOOL IS ALL ABOUT
Education & Spiritual Development
Shining Stars Christian Preschool, Inc. is a part-time multi-age preschool open Monday thru Thursday, for children between the ages of three and five years. We desire to provide children with the tools, environment, care, and treatment necessary for them to grow and develop during these vital years of life. At Shining Stars Christian Preschool, the children will not only grow academically, but more importantly, they will be given a Biblical and Christ-centered education. Every child will be viewed as special and unique; as one created in the image of God. All will be treated with the love and respect that is due them as God’s precious children. Learning is a journey, and it is one that the staff, the families and the children will all make together. Shining Stars Christian Preschool is driven by our passion for teaching children to grow. It’s our desire that the children may become all they can be, and all that God has called them to be, while shining their light for the entire world to see.
“… that you may become blameless and pure, children of God, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” - Philippians 2:15
At Shining Stars Christian Preschool, Inc., we create a caring environment that will enrich the lives of children by providing quality opportunities for children to develop academically, physically, socially/emotionally and spiritually so that they may become all that God has called them to be; blameless and pure children of God, in which they shine like stars in the universe.
* To instill a passion for learning within the children while providing them with curriculum that is in accordance with the Illinois State Standard Goals, teaching the children in the areas of language arts, mathematics, science, social science, physical development/health, fine arts, and social/emotional development.
*To provide children with the best education possible by providing them with well qualified teachers who have obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.
*To provide children with the opportunity to create, explore their environment, learn problem solving techniques, personal interaction skills, and concepts through first hand experiences and to provide children with the tools, care, and treatment necessary for them to grow and develop during these vital years of life.
* To daily help children become more like Christ through the positive example of the staff’s Christ-like love for them and through Biblical integration in all areas of academics.
*To ensure that the staff, families, and children will all work together with open communication as a team in order to provide the best possible environment and academic experience that every child of God deserves.
What We Believe: Shining Stars Christian Preschool, Inc. is a Christian school and we believe in, and will teach, the basic Christian Doctrine on a regular daily basis.
We believe that there is only one true existing eternal God. We believe He can be revealed to us through both general and special revelation. We believe that God is not dependent on anything and He is distinct from everyone and everything. In Exodus 3:14, God said, “I am the one who is,” which means, because I created you, I rely on and depend on no one for my existence. God created the entire universe and all its creatures, and is still at work in His creation. We believe that God is the Almighty King, and from the beginning He created the Trinity of God in which He is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We believe that God loves us and desires to have a personal relationship with His human creations.
We believe in God’s eternal divine Son Jesus Christ who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He was fully God as well as fully man in that He was born of flesh and blood. Christ ministered to the world to serve and to save it and He was the ultimate sacrifice of death on a cross so that we may have forgiveness from sins. We believe He defeated death and rose on the third day. After forty days he ascended into heaven, leaving behind the great commission to His disciples, which also includes us today. We believe that someday Christ will visibly come again to earth and it is our job to help prepare ourselves and others for when that day arrives.
We believe the Holy Spirit dwells in all Christ followers, distinguishing them as children of God. He is eternal, powerful, involved in creation, and creates a driving will in man, enabling us to understand God’s values and principles.
We believe that God created mankind in His image to live in relationship with Him. Though our sin separates us from God, we can be reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus, who has paid the ultimate price for our sins through His death, burial, and resurrection.
We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. It is entirely accurate complete, and reliable, and we look to the Bible for the revelation of the character of God and as our final authority on all matters of faith and conduct. The Bible will be used in our everyday teachings at Shining Stars Christian Preschool.
3. Session Times, Arrival & Departure
AM Session - 8:15am - 11:00am
8:05-8:15 - Doors open for arrival
8:15-8:30 - Free exploration time in centers while children get adjusted to the classroom for the day;
8:30-9:00 - Morning Circle time, which includes calendar, weather, songs, fingerplays, curriculum, review, etc…
9:00-9:15 - potty break, wash hands, and have snack;
9:15-10:20 - Curriculum implementation, exploration of learning centers (math, science, manipulatives, etc)
10:20-10:40 - Clean up, and then have fun with outdoor play and our gross motor development;
10:40-10:55 - Closing circle time, which includes reviewing our day, and reading some stories;
10:55-11:00 – Prepare for pick-up (get artwork and/or important letters/notes in backpacks)
11:00 - Pick-up; end of session
PM Session – 12:15pm – 3:00pm
12:05-12:15 - Doors open for arrival
12:15-12:30 - Free exploration time in centers while children get adjusted to the classroom for the day;
12:30-1:00 - Morning Circle time, which includes calendar, weather, songs, fingerplays, curriculum, review, etc…
1:00-1:15 - potty break, wash hands, and have snack;
1:15-2:20 - Curriculum implementation, exploration of learning centers (math, science, manipulatives, etc)
2:20-2:40 - Clean up, and then have fun with outdoor play and our gross motor development;
2:40- 2:55 - Closing circle time, which includes reviewing our day, and reading some stories;
2:55- 3:00 – Prepare for pick-up (get artwork and/or important letters/notes in backpacks)
3:00 - Pick-up; end of session
**Throughout the day each child shall be recognized as an individual whose gender, ability, personal privacy, choice of activities, cultural, ethnic and Christian background shall be respected. A variety of activities will be planned by the teachers to accommodate differences in interest, attention span, and physical and intellectual maturity. The schedule is set up to allow the program to provide experiences which promote the individual child’s growth and well-being and the development of self-help and communication skills, social competence, and positive self-identity.
Arrangements for Arrival and Departure
I should arrive at the times listed on my schedule. When you drop me off in our vehicle we should park, and you can walk me into the school through the main church entry way doors. Please make sure to help me wash my hands really well with soap and water before entering the classroom. We want to make sure that all of our friends stay healthy! Don’t forget to sign me in on the sign in/out sheet. There is a parent board in the classroom that you can take a look at and always know what I am learning about as well as read about any important upcoming announcements. It is important that we get to school on time so that I have time to adjust to the room and so that I do not disturb my friends who are trying to learn. Please remember that while I am big and going to school, I still love you very much and this may be a new experience for me. Sometimes it may be hard to say goodbye to you. It is best that we do the same routine everyday. Come in and sign me in, get me settled, give me a kiss and a great big hug, tell me you love me and to have a great day. Tell me to do my best in school and tell me you will see me later. Sometimes as fun as school is, I may not want you to go, or you may not want to leave me. But don’t worry, I am in great hands, and my teachers will take great care of me. Once you leave, I will settle down usually within two to five minutes and be refocused on school and ready for the day. Once I realize our routine is set, it will become much easier to say goodbye to you, and you to me. Remember that I always love you and will look forward to seeing you again when my school day is over. My teachers really care about me, so please inform them of any new major changes in my life such as a death in the family, relatives visiting, family members going out of town etc. My emotions are almost always altered by what is happening in my life and my teachers want to be able to understand why I am feeling the way I am feeling and how they can best accommodate me.
You should come and pick me up by the time set on the schedule at the same place you dropped me off at. I’ll be so excited to tell you about my day and show you the work I did. I think you will be so proud of me! Then, you can help me gather my things. Don’t forget to sign me out before we leave. Sometimes you can’t always be there to pick me up so make sure you tell my teachers and give them a note on the days that someone else will be there to pick me up. My teachers really want to protect me so they will probably ask to see your photo I.D. and anyone else who is picking me up. At least until they really get to know you. I can only go home with people that you have listed on my emergency contact form, unless you have made special arrangements with my teachers. If my school has no notification of a person not listed on the emergency contact form or there is no valid photo I.D. then my school will not release me to the individual trying to pick me up!
Please pick me up on time at 11:00 and 3:00. If I am not picked up at this time my teachers will give you a call and any individual on my Emergency Contact Form in an attempt to locate a person authorized to pick me up. For every five minutes over the deadline time of pickup there is a five dollar overage charge. If I am left at the school for 30 minutes and my teachers could not get a hold of anyone on my Emergency Contact Form, then the local police and the child protection services will be notified and will handle the situation from there. Please make arrangements to have me picked up on time so that we may avoid any overage fees and mainly so you can protect me and save me from embarrassment or sad/ hurt feelings.
4. SNACK AND JUICE
There will be one snack time per class, per day, that will be brought in by the children. When your child first starts preschool, please bring in small juice boxes and a snack (enough to feed 20 children). All snacks should be store bought, prepackaged with ingredients listed. ALL SNACKS MUST BE INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED. Juice must be 100% fruit juice. We will strive to help your kids be healthy eaters. Since the 100% fruit juice covers a fruit group, we ask that the snack you provide cover a different food group (vegetable, grain, dairy, or meat). If you choose to bring in a snack that falls in the fruit group, please bring in something from another food group to accompany it. Our school is a nut free school. Please read labels to make sure the snacks do not have nuts/peanut butter listed as an ingredient.
Other than the requested snack or special event treats, such as birthdays or holidays, children may not bring any outside food into the classroom. They must finish their breakfast, lunch or any other snack before entering the classroom. Children are not forced to eat anything, but are encouraged to try their snack. If the school runs out of snacks, we will send home a notice to bring in more.
5. A CHILD STAYS HOME – ABSENCE & ILLNESS POLICY/WEATHER POLICY=
Absence and Illness
My teacher says it is important that I go to school every day on Monday through Thursday so that I’ll get to do all the fun things with my friends. My teachers really want to see me at school, but if I am sick it is important that I stay home so that I can rest and get better and so I do not make my friends get sick as well. Please contact my school ASAP if I am absent and cannot attend school for the day. In the case that I get an illness where I need to be removed from the school, you or someone on my emergency contact form will be notified. I will need to be picked up as soon as possible, but no later than one hour after notification. While I wait for pick up my teachers will let me rest comfortably on a mat separated from the rest of the class, but in hearing and visual distance from me.
A daily pre-admission screening of me will be conducted by my teacher to determine if I do or do not have symptoms of illnesses. If symptoms of illness are present, my teachers will determine whether they are able to care for me safely based on the apparent degree of illness. If I am suspected of having or diagnosed as having a reportable infectious, contagious, or communicable disease for which isolation is required by the Illinois Department of Public Health’s General Procedures for the Control of Communicable Diseases, then I shall be excluded from school until a physician has certified the symptoms are not associated with an infectious agent or they are no longer a threat to the health of other children at the program; or the symptoms have subsided.
**The school’s illness policy will be posted by the parent board at all times.
Shining Stars Christian Preschool Illness Policy
1. Children with diarrhea and those with a rash combined with fever (oral temperature of 101 F or higher or under the arm temperature of 100 F or higher) shall not be admitted to the school while those symptoms persist, and shall be removed as soon as possible should these symptoms develop while the child is in care.
2. Children will not be excluded for a minor illness unless any of the following exists, in which case exclusion from the school is required.
A. Illness which prevents the child from participating comfortably in school activities.
B. Illness which calls for greater care than the staff can provide without compromising the health and safety of other children.
C. Fever of 100 or higher
D. Unusual lethargy, irritability, persistent crying, difficulty breathing or other signs of possible severe illness.
E. Diarrhea-Generally exclude until stool returns to normal form.
F. Vomiting two or more times in the previous 24 hours, unless the vomiting is determined to be due to a non-communicable condition and the child is not in danger of dehydration.
G. Mouth sores associated with the child’s inability to control his or her saliva, until the child’s physician or the local health department states that the child is noninfectious.
H. Rash with fever or behavior change, unless a physician has determined the illness to be non-communicable.
I. Purulent conjunctivitis (pink eye), until 24 hours after treatment has been initiated.
J. Impetigo, until 24 hours after treatment has been initiated.
K. Strep throat, until 24 hours after treatment has been initiated and until the child has been without fever for 24 hours.
L. Head lice, until the morning after the first treatment and no live eggs can be found.
M. Scabies, until the morning after the first treatment.
N. Chicken Pox (varicella), until at least six days after onset of rash.
O. Whooping cough (pertussis), until five days of antibiotic treatment has been completed.
P. Mumps, until nine days after onset of parotid gland swelling.
Q. Measles, until four days after disappearance of the rash.
R. Symptoms which may be indicative of one of the serious, communicable diseases identified in the Illinois Department of Public Health Control of Communicable Diseases Code.
(A child with AIDS will be excluded if he/she exhibits biting behavior, is not in control of his/her body fluids, or has open skin sores which cannot be covered)
Children who have not been immunized for personal reasons or inadequately immunized children: In the case that measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, polio or diarrhea occurs in the child care setting, children who are inadequately or incompletely immunized will be excluded for the communicable period of the disease. This exclusion is necessary because these children may become infected and contribute to further disease spread.
If I suffer from a severe allergy or other medical condition, please make sure it is listed on my medical form, and make sure my teachers are aware of it. Please discuss a plan of action with them in case I should suffer from an allergic reaction or medical situation.
My teachers really want to take care of me and they say that if I need to take medicine at school, then I need permission from my doctor and your permission as well as your signature on a form that my teacher will give you. My medicine needs to be brought home everyday and if I need it again you can bring it back and fill out the form again. It must be filled out daily. All of my medicines both prescription and none prescription must be in its original package. My teachers say they will only give me the amount of medicine prescribed by the doctor or requested by the parent, but they will not give over the amount that is stated on the manufacturer’s instructions unless a note is signed by a doctor.
During Extremely Inclement Weather
Mom and dad, sometimes there will be no school during bad weather. If the local School Districts are closed for weather, then my school is closed as well. Please call the school’s number and check the answering machine on days of extreme weather. My teachers will record a message of school cancellation. They will also post any cancellations on the school's facebook page once the decision has been made to cancel school. When in doubt, please always check the facebook page or call the school first before heading out during bad weather!
6. EVERYDAY AND SPECIAL EXPERIENCES
I am so excited to go to preschool, because I will get to sing and learn math, do science experiments, and read great stories. My teacher says that in preschool we do all kinds of things like counting, painting, working with scissors, learning about ourselves and people near and far and even visiting places in our town. We will have a great time socializing with our friends, and even get to eat a wonderful snack together. I get to exercise my muscles, both large and small. I get to learn about God and Jesus too, and we even get to read the Bible! I will learn how to have great values and how to respect others and the world around me so that I may grow up and be all that God has called me to be.
Because I get to do so many great things at school, my teachers would really like to keep you informed. My teachers will always post on the parent board so you can see what we are learning about. I love talking with you about the things I do all day while you are away from me so ask me about my school day, everyday. The parent board as well as the schools website will also have posted on it all other important notes and announcements about what is going on at my school. Sometimes my teachers will send notes home with me too. So, please make sure you check my backpack, the parent board, and my cubby every day. We follow most of, but not all, of the local school district'sholiday schedule. My teachers will post notes when a school closure day will be coming up. These days are also included in our school- year calendar you will receive at the beginning of the year.
Special Experiences: Field Trips and Star of the Week
When our class plans a field trip, the school always asks our parents (guardians) if it is okay for us to go. The teacher will send a note to you each time we go on such a trip, and you will have to sign it if you want me to go. It is important that we get to school on time on the day of a field trip. If you would like to go as a chaperone, that would be really great! My class and I would love to have you come and share in our experiences. My teachers will put up a sign up in the classroom that you can write your name down on if you would like to go with us. They will tell you more about the details of each trip when the time comes.
Star of the Week
Star of the week is when a student of his or her assigned week is spotlighted. Every student will get to be star of the week for at least one week throughout the school year. Each day of their special week, they will bring in something to share with the class. On Mondays, the star of the week will bring 5-10 of their favorite family pictures to share with the class. On Tuesdays a favorite book, on Wednesdays a favorite CD or cassette tape, and on Thursday a favorite toy. Please note that if your child is only part time, you can combine these items and bring in more than one item each day your child is in attendance. Your child will also get to spend the week with Bananas, our class monkey. You will receive a full informational letter and reminder about all of this exciting stuff when the time comes!
7. TOYS AND CLOTHES AT SCHOOL
Taking Things to School
My toys and things from home should stay at home. I can play with them when I get back home. Sometimes my teachers may ask me to bring something in, such as show and tell or something special for when I am star of the week. On these days, you can help me choose what to bring so that I don’t take fragile, valuable (i.e., expensive family treasure), sharp-edged objects, or toy guns, knives, etc. I can however bring to school a backpack with spare clothes, seasonal clothing as needed, and all school supplies as requested by my teachers in the beginning of the year. Remember that whatever I bring to school with me, I must take home. I have a cubby to keep my things in while I am at school, but my schools’ church building gets used a lot and my school cannot be held responsible if anything that happens to my property that I have left after school hours.
Clothing Needed For School
With so many children and with so much for each of us to do in preschool, the teacher says these are good recommendations for school clothes:
1. Labeled for identification
2. Easy to handle (large buttons and buttonholes, underwear convenient for toileting etc.) boots the child can put on and remove, loops on coats and sweaters for hanging.
3. Washable- (We do a large number of messy activities with the children. Please do not send your child in nice clothes that you would not want paint, play-dough, dirt, etc. on.)
5. Not too tight
6. Shoes comfortable for play that I can run and climb in without losing my shoe or falling and hurting myself.
7. In the winter time I get to go outside if it is above 32 degrees, so I need to make sure I bring a warm coat, hat, scarf, gloves that fit, snow pants if there is snow, and boots.
8. Extra clothes need to be brought with me because messes and accidents sometimes happen. At least one complete set of clothes should be kept in my backpack at all times. I have my own cubby while I am at school, but there are two classes during the day so my cubby is shared with another child in the other class. I need to make sure I leave room for them to put their items in the cubby, and keep it nice and clean for them as well.
8. BEHAVIOR GUIDELINES & COMMUNICATION
My teachers will strive to help me process feelings, recognize consequences for my actions, find a positive solution to the current problem and to develop self control. They will strive to accomplish this by maintaining a calm and consistent atmosphere and schedule, by modeling appropriate behavior, by raising and verbally guiding children through conflict resolutions. My teachers will help me identify my needs, feelings, causes, alternatives, and choices. Here is a list of the classroom rules so you can know them, and help to remind me of my classroom rules at home as well.
Rules of the Classroom:
1- Keep my hands and feet to myself.
2- Use my walking feet in the classroom.
3- Use my inside voice when indoors.
4- Listen while the teacher is talking.
5- Be kind to my friends.
I will do my best to try and follow them, but sometimes I may get angry or forget one of them. If I do forget the rules, my teachers will help to provide positive redirection for me. This is a process of redirecting unacceptable behavior toward a positive alternative. If the conflict still occurs after positive redirection and verbal guidance from my teachers to find an alternative option, then I may have to be removed from the situation or center I am at. If I momentarily cannot control my anger and possibly become aggressive or refuse to follow directions after proper interference and guidance from my teachers, I may be required to take a “thinking time.” Thinking time will last 3-5 minutes; One minute per year of age, or the length of time a child needs in order to regain composure. In this case, I may sit, calm down, and think about a positive response to the situation. This provides comfort and privacy for me while I regain composure, and ensures the safety of the other children. Don’t forget I am a child, and am still learning to control my emotions, feelings, and actions. My teachers will do the best they can to encourage me and guide me through this learning process.
*Every child has the right to be physically safe from harm or injury by another child. If a child is inflicting harm on anyone in any way, they will be removed from the group. This is not a form of punishment, but rather a time of renewal and reflection. Any separation of a child will always be within sight and hearing distance of the teachers.
If a child is having constant behavior issues, a conference will be set up with the primary caregivers to discuss the situation. If the behavior still continues after this meeting, then the teachers may request that the parents seek professional assistance for their child. If this request is made, the parents have two weeks to bring in proof that they are seeking professional assistance for their child’s behavioral issues or else the child’s enrollment may be terminated. However, these instances will only occur under extreme circumstances, and as a last resort. For all unacceptable behavior that takes place during class, an incident report will be written up by the teacher and initialed by the parent in order to keep good communication between parents and teachers. For the safety of the classroom we may request that a child be picked up immediately if a child’s behavior is consistently violent. For the safety of the other children in the classroom, we ask that you please cooperate with us in picking up your child if any such situation should occur.
Any child who, after attempts have been made to meet the child’s individual needs, demonstrates inability to benefit from the type of care offered by the preschool, or whose presence is detrimental to the group, shall be discharged from the facility.
In all instances, when the school decides that it is in the best interest of the child to terminate enrollment, the child’s and parents’ needs shall be considered by planning with the parents to meet the child’s needs when he or she leaves the facility, including referrals to other agencies or facilities. We personally care about each family and we will do whatever we can to help you in such situations.
In the case of an unusual/special circumstance/serious incident, my teachers will pass on all information to you verbally or in a written note called an incident report. Incident reports must be filled out by my teacher who witnessed the incident. The incident report will tell you what happened, the action that was taken by my teacher(s), the time, date, and location of the incident. All incident reports are to be kept confidential. All incident reports must be signed by my teacher who filled it out and you when you pick me up. The Incident reports are to be kept at school in my personal file so after reading and signing it, please remember to give it back to my teacher. A copy can be made for you upon your request.
9. HOW FAMILIES CAN HELP
Guess what? My teachers at school say that all the children’s families are teachers, too! There are lots of teachers. Here is a letter from my school teachers.
Dear Family Member,
As a family member, you have been responsible for the early learning of your child. Although he/she is now old enough for preschool, you will still be the most important teacher in your child’s life. Here are some ways you can help your child in preschool.
Read and answer all notes from school.
Give special help to your children by promoting good health and safety habits.
Praise your child for things done well.
Talk about everyday experiences.
Plan family activities.
Watch children’s television shows with your child.
Provide materials for cutting, drawing, writing, and building.
Teach your child to take care of toileting needs, to dress, and to put away toys.
Pray! Pray for and with your child and remind them that they are loved daily!
10. YOUR CHILD’S PROGRESS
You can always find out how I am doing in school. My teachers will will keep a portfolio of work samples and journal pages through out the year. Twice a year my teachers will fill out a progress at a glance form. This will tell you areas that I am working on and areas that I am excelling in. You can talk with my teachers anytime! They always look forward to chatting with you.
I am so excited about this upcoming school year. Thank you, for letting me be a part of Shining Stars Christian Preschool. My teachers can’t wait until our first day, and neither can I!!
Your Shining Star